Betting Odds and Prediction for 2018 NFL Wild Card Playoffs
There’s no need to be flustered by the start to the NFL playoffs. Wild Card Weekend is always a bit of a hassle to project, but our analysis of the NFL postseason will put you in a position to thrive at the sportsbooks with the best NFL Picks. We cover:
- The complete NFL schedule for Wild Card Weekend
- NFL Odds for every Wild Card game
- Analysis for each game
- Predictions for every game
- A review of the importance of the NFL standings
Please note that all our game odds come courtesy of Bovada and are accurate as of Monday, December 31.
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Wild Card Saturday
Houston Texans (-3) vs. Indianapolis Colts (+3)
Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Start Time: 4:35 p.m. EST
After a three-year absence, the Colts are back in the playoffs. But they’ll have their work cut out for them if they wish to advance beyond this Wild Card matchup.
The Texans enter this game after an 11-win regular season and a dominant performance on the defensive end. Led by J.J. Watt, they are fourth in points allowed per game. And whereas they’ve lacked big-play potential in years past on the other side of the ball, quarterback DeShaun Watson has changed all that.
Granted, the Colts are no slouch. They enter with a top-five offense piloted by a healthy Andrew Luck, and they’ve already beaten the Texans on the road once this season. This feels like a game that’ll be close but ultimately tilt toward the home team’s favor.
Prediction: Texans (-3)
Dallas Cowboys (-1) vs. Seattle Seahawks (+1)
Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Start Time: 8:15 p.m. EST
Oddsmakers have essentially made this battle a pick ’em, and they’re right to do so.
Though the Seahawks defeated the Cowboys by 11 points back in Week 3, these are totally different circumstances. Dallas is a better team than they were at the start of the season, and this time, the game will be taking place on their own turf.
That being said, the Cowboys offense continues to toe the line of unimpressive. They finished first in the NFC East division, but that’s not saying much. They’re 22nd in points scored per game overall, and their passing attack has lacked a certain oomph.
Only twice this season has quarterback Dak Prescott thrown for more than two touchdowns in a game. For the most part, the Cowboys have relied upon star running back Ezekiel Elliott. That stands to catch up with them against one of the league’s top running defenses.
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks (+1)
Wild Card Sunday
Baltimore Ravens (-1) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (+1)
Where: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
Start Time: 1:35 p.m. EST
Kudos to the Ravens for sneaking into the playoffs. It wasn’t easy for them. They transitioned from veteran Joe Flacco under center to rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, and they needed to stave off the Pittsburgh Steelers for first place in the NFC North.
Strong defense is key come postseason time, which bodes well for the Ravens. They’re second in points allowed per game. But they’re going up against an explosive Chargers offense that placed sixth in points scored per contest.
And let’s not forget, Los Angeles’ defense is no stranger to big plays. They finished the regular season eighth in points allowed per game. Their balance should be enough to get them a tough road victory here.
Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers (+1)
Wild Card Sunday
Chicago Bears (-5.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (+5.5)
Where: Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois
Start Time: 4:40 p.m. EST
This is a game you’ll need to keep tabs on. The line is so heavily in the Bears’ favor because of the Eagles’ quarterback situation. Carson Wentz is once again done for the season, and his backup, Nick Foles, suffered a rib injury during Week 17 and is questionable to play on Sunday.
If Foles, who led the Eagles to a Super Bowl last year, isn’t able to go, this game becomes a non-question. The Bears will get it running away.
Then again, even if he does play, it’s hard to like the Eagles’ chances. Their lackluster offense is going up against the best defense in the league. Chicago finished the regular season in first place for interceptions, net yards allowed per passing attempt, rushing yards allowed and rushing touchdowns allowed.
Spreads north of five points are always tough in the playoffs. But you should, as of now, feel pretty good about this one.
Prediction: Chicago Bears (-5.5)
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